Posts from — July 2002
On Being Divisive
by R.C. Sproul Jr
I recently had occasion to read some nice letters to Pastor John Wood. For those of you not hip to this story John is a PCA pastor who found himself in some hot water for having a woman preach at the very large church he pastors, and for affirming that such was legitimate. The good folks down at the PCA headquarters found him not guilty but still the church, deeply wounded no doubt, determined to leave the PCA for the friendlier confines of the EPC, a denomination to the right of the really liberal presbyterians, but to the left of everyone else. The letters to Pastor Wood were from PCA pastors arguing with him, not about his views on women, but about leaving. They kept insisting that he not confuse with the real PCA the vocal minority of divisive men who brought the charges against him. I recall in my days in the ARP being called divisive. And that puzzles me. Doesn’t it take two to disagree? Why is, “Women should not preach” divisive, while, “Women may preach” is not divisive, especially when the rules say “Women may not preach.”? Why is “It is wrong to send your children to government school” divisive, while, “It is not wrong” is not?
Suppose I determined that polygamy is good. Would it be divisive to argue that it is not? Oh, but that’s different. Polygamy is wrong. Says who? Says God. The disagreement among men never causes division. Disagreement with God causes division. Don’t be afraid of that label. Only divisive people separate the divisive people from the non-divisive people.
July 31, 2002 No Comments
everyone needs one and this one seems to be good.
July 31, 2002 No Comments
Many great thanks to Mark Horne for this true jewel.
JUSTIFICATION & SALVATION
No copyright; feel free to copy and paste this anywhere as long as you do so completely, including the “answer key.”
A. Repentance to life involves endeavoring to
1.believe real hard that your saved.
2.reject infant baptism.
3.stop watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
4.walk with God in all the ways of his commandments.
B. What is necessary so that no sinner may expect to be forgiven unless he does it?
1.Only believing that Jesus is Lord and God raised him from the dead.
2.Reading the Bible every morning before breakfast.
3.Promising never to disco dance.
4.Repentance to life.
C. Without the practice of true holiness by a Christian, what will result?
1.He won’t be a credible witness of God’s grace.
2.He will be able to make lots of money on the Trinity network.
3.He will continue watching TNT’s Witchblade because they know drama.
4.He will never see the Lord.
D. In addition to accepting, receiving, and resting upon Christ alone for justification, sanctification, and eternal life, by virtue of the covenant of grace, saving faith includes what other general acts?
1.No other acts; this is just a subtle attempt to deny the Protestant Doctrine of sola fide the article by with the Church stands of falls, and if you were any kind of real Reformed Pastor you would have repeated that article in latin the way the nice people at ModernReformation do it.
2.Tipping no less than 15% no matter what the service was like.
3.Only attending churches where the preacher has law and gospel, in that order, in every sermon.
4.Believing to be true whatsoever is revealed in the Word, for the authority of God himself speaking therein; and acting differently upon that which each particular passage thereof contains; yielding obedience to the commands, trembling at the threats, and embracing the promises of God for this life, and that which is to come.
E. When are the elect justified in God’s sight?
1.From eternity; because God loved them and regarded them in Christ so that they have always been righteous in his sight.
2.From the moment Jesus died on the cross and made satisfaction for their specific sins so that there is no longer any just cause for them to be under God’s wrath.
3.Not until after 1516 because before that no one believed in justification as a forensic verdict received by faith alone and therefore, all “Christians” from the time of the Apostles until Luther, were nothing more than a pack of damned pagans.
4.At the time the Holy Spirit applies Christ to them.
F. Does God continually forgive those he has justified?
1.That is not possible because justification forgives all sins: past, present, and future.
2.Only as long as they renew their subscription to the White Horse Inn or until they subscribe to the Reformation & Revival Journal.
3.Normally, but not N. T. Wright’s.
G. List out the ordo salutis.
1.Justification, Adoption, Sanctification.
2.Justification, Sanctification, Adoption.
3.I don’t know about Sanctification and Adoption but if you don’t put justification first you’re gonna burn.
4.There is no order in that sense: Union with Christ gives you Justification, Sanctification, and Adoption; and Justification, Sanctification, and Adoption are simply manifestations of our union with Christ.
H. What three things are required of us that we may escape God’s wrath and curse, which we deserve because of our transgression of the law of God?
1.Faith, faith, and faith.
2.Required? Christ fulfilled the conditions of the covenant. Solo Christo! Here I stand!
3.Faith, Repentance, and listening to the White Horse Inn regularly unless providentially hindered.
4.Repentance toward God, faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, and the diligent use of the outward means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of his mediation.
I. What is a sacrament?
1.A sacrament is a symbolic act meant to bring to mind a doctrinal truth.
2.An empty gesture.
3.A rite in the Roman Catholic Church.
4.A means by which Christ, and the benefits of the new covenant, are applied to believers, and thus an effectual means of salvation.
J. Is God in covenant with the Church as he was with the nation Israel?
1.No, the nation of Israel included many who were not predestined to eternal life but God’s new covenant is with the elect only in distinction from Israel.
2.No, this is the dispensation of grace where God no longer threatens covenant members with the possibility of being punished as Covenant breakers.
3.No, the book of Hebrews is in error.
4.Yes, The preface to the ten commandments still applies to us and it teaches us that God is a God in covenant, as with Israel of old, so with all his people; who, as he brought them out of their bondage in Egypt, so he delivers us from our spiritual thralldom; and that therefore we are bound to take him for our God alone, and to keep all his commandments.
For Questions A & B:
Westminster Confession of Faith
II. By it, a sinner, out of the sight and sense not only of the danger, but also of the filthiness and odiousness of his sins, as contrary to the holy nature, and righteous law of God; and upon the apprehension of his mercy in Christ to such as are penitent, so grieves for, and hates his sins, as to turn from them all unto God, purposing and endeavoring to walk with him in all the ways of his commandments.
3. Ezek. 18:30-31; 36:31; Isa. 30:22; Psa. 51:4; Jer. 31:18-19; Joel 2:12-13; Amos 5:15; Psa. 119:128; II Cor. 7:11; I Thess. 1:9
4. Psa. 119:6, 59, 106; II Kings 23:25; see Luke 1:6
III. Although repentance be not to be rested in, as any satisfaction for sin, or any cause of the pardon thereof, which is the act of God’s free grace in Christ; yet it is of such necessity to all sinners, that none may expect pardon without it.
5. Ezek. 16:61-63; 36:31-32; Isa. 43:25
6. Hosea 14:2, 4; Rom. 3:24; Eph. 1:7
7. Luke 13:3, 5; Mark 1:4; Acts 17:30-31
For Question C:
Westminster Confession of Faith
I. They, who are once effectually called, and regenerated, having a new heart, and a new spirit created in them, are further sanctified, really and personally, through the virtue of Christ’s death and resurrection, by his Word and Spirit dwelling in them: the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed, and the several lusts thereof are more and more weakened and mortified; and they more and more quickened and strengthened in all saving graces, to the practice of true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.
1. I Thess. 5:23-24; II Thess. 2:13-14; Ezek. 36:22-28; Titus 3:5; Acts 20:32; Phil. 3:10; Rom. 6:5-6
2. John 17:17, 19; Eph. 5:26; Rom. 8:13-14; II Thess. 2:13
3. Rom. 6:6, 14
4. Gal. 5:24; Rom. 8:13
5. Col. 1:10-11; Eph. 3:16-19
6. II Cor. 7:1; Col. 1:28, 4:12; Heb. 12:14
For Question D:
Westminster Confession of Faith
II. By this faith, a Christian believeth to be true whatsoever is revealed in the Word, for the authority of God himself speaking therein; and acteth differently upon that which each particular passage thereof containeth; yielding obedience to the commands, trembling at the threatenings, and embracing the promises of God for this life, and that which is to come. But the principal acts of saving faith are accepting, receiving, and resting upon Christ alone for justification, sanctification, and eternal life, by virtue of the covenant of grace.
5. II Peter 1:20-21; John 4:42; I Thess. 2:13; I John 5:9-10; Acts 24:14
6. Psa. 119:10-11, 48, 97-98, 167-168; John 14:15
7. Ezra 9:4; Isa. 66:2; Heb. 4:1
8. Heb. 11:13; I Tim. 4:8
9. John 1:12; Acts 15:11, 16:31; Gal. 2:20; II Tim. 1:9-10
For Question E:
Westminster Confession of Faith
IV. God did, from all eternity, decree to justify all the elect, and Christ did, in the fullness of time, die for their sins, and rise again for their justification: nevertheless, they are not justified, until the Holy Spirit doth, in due time, actually apply Christ unto them.
11. Rom. 8:29, 30; Gal. 3:8; I Peter 1:2, 19-20
12. Gal. 4:4; I Tim. 2:6; Rom. 4:25
13. Eph. 2:3; Titus 3:3-7; Gal. 2:16; cf. Col. 1:21-22
For Question F:
Westminster Confession of Faith
V. God doth continue to forgive the sins of those that are justified; and, although they can never fall from the state of justification, yet they may, by their sins, fall under God’s fatherly displeasure, and not have the light of his countenance restored unto them, until they humble themselves, confess their sins, beg pardon, and renew their faith and repentance.
14. Matt. 6:12; I John 1:7, 9; 2:1-2
15. Rom. 5:1-5, 8:30-39; Heb. 10:14; cf. Luke 22:32; John 10:28
16. Psa. 32:5; ch. 51; 89:30-33; Matt. 26:75; Luke 1:20; I Cor. 11:30, 32
For Question G:
Westminster Larger Catechism
Q69: What is the communion in grace which the members of the invisible church have with Christ?
A69: The communion in grace which the members of the invisible church have with Christ, is their partaking of the virtue of his mediation, in their justification, adoption, sanctification, and whatever else, in this life, manifests their union with him.
1. Rom. 8:30
2. Eph. 1:5
3. I Cor. 1:30
For Question H:
Westminster Larger Catechism
Q153: What doth God require of us, that we may escape his wrath and curse due to us by reason of the transgression of the law?
A153: That we may escape the wrath and curse of God due to us by reason of the transgression of the law, he requireth of us repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, and the diligent use of the outward means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of his mediation.
1. Acts 16:30-31; 20:21; Matt. 3:7-8; Luke 13:3, 5; John 3:16, 18
2. Prov. 2:1-5; 8:33-36
For Question I:
Westminster Shorter Catechism
Q91: How do the sacraments become effectual means of salvation?
A91: The sacraments become effectual means of salvation, not from any virtue in them, or in him that doth administer them; but only by the blessing of Christ, and the working of his Spirit in them that by faith receive them.
1. I Cor. 3:7
2. I Peter 3:21
Q92: What is a sacrament?
A92: A sacrament is an holy ordinance instituted by Christ, wherein, by sensible signs, Christ, and the benefits of the new covenant, are represented, sealed, and applied to believers.
1. Gen. 17:10
2. Rom. 4:11
For Question J:
Westminster Larger Catechism
Q33: Was the covenant of grace always administered after one and the same manner?
A33: The covenant of grace was not always administered after the same manner, but the administrations of it under the Old Testament were different from those under the New.
1. II Cor. 3:6-9
Q34: How was the covenant of grace administered under the Old Testament?
A34: The covenant of grace was administered under the Old Testament, by promises, prophecies,  sacrifices, circumcision, the passover, and other types and ordinances, which did all foresignify Christ then to come, and were for that time sufficient to build up the elect in faith in the promised Messiah, by whom they then had full remission of sin, and eternal salvation.
1. Rom. 15:8
2. Acts 3:20, 24
3. Heb. 10:1
4. Rom. 4:11
5. I Cor. 5:7
6. Heb. ch. 8-10; 11:13
7. Gal. 3:7-9, 14
Q35: How is the covenant of grace administered under the New Testament?
A35: Under the New Testament, when Christ the substance was exhibited, the same covenant of grace was and still is to be administered in the preaching of the word, and the administration of the sacraments of Baptism  and the Lord’s Supper; in which grace and salvation are held forth in more fulness, evidence, and efficacy, to all nations.
1. Mark 16:15
2. Matt. 28:19-20
3. I Cor. 11:23-25
4. II Cor. 3:6-9; Heb. 8:6, 10-11; Matt. 28:19
Q101: What is the preface to the ten commandments?
A101: The preface to the ten commandments is contained in these words, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Wherein God manifesteth his sovereignty, as being JEHOVAH, the eternal, immutable, and almighty God; having his being in and of himself, and giving being to all his words  and works: and that he is a God in covenant, as with Israel of old, so with all his people; who, as he brought them out of their bondage in Egypt, so he delivers us from our spiritual thralldom; and that therefore we are bound to take him for our God alone, and to keep all his commandments.
1. Exod. 20:2
2. Isa. 44:6
3. Exod. 3:14
4. Exod. 6:3
5. Acts 17:24, 28
6. Gen. 17:7; Rom. 3:29
7. Luke 1:74-75
8. I Peter 1:15-18; Lev. 18:30, 19:37
Q166: Unto whom is Baptism to be administered?
A166: Baptism is not to be administered to any that are out of the visible church, and so strangers from the covenant of promise, till they profess their faith in Christ, and obedience to him, but infants descending from parents, either both, or but one of them, professing faith in Christ, and obedience to him, are in that respect within the covenant, and to be baptized.
1. Acts 2:38; 8:36-37
2. Gen. 17:7, 9; Gal. 3:9, 14; Col. 2:11-12; Acts 2:38-39; Rom. 4:11-12;
11:16; I Cor. 7:14; Matt 28:19; Luke 18:15-16
July 29, 2002 No Comments
Regarding the charges of heresy by the RPCUS mentioned previously, these responses are worth reading:
add one more, completeing the list
July 22, 2002 No Comments
Oftentimes I want to have a big name, to be influential and well respected in the Christian community. I want people to have questions for me, and I want to have answers that both satisfy and astonish them. I want to be in the club.
And the fact is, I’m not in the club. I’m not much of any of those things, at least not on the scale I imagine myself to be. That upsets me. Why am I not blessed with the gifts I so desire? Why can’t I preach a sermon that’s heard the world around (or at least, that brings applause from the Church)? Why can’t I write an article that shakes many out of the lazy sleep they’re in? Or, better yet, why can’t I author a book that challenges the sinful ways of modern Christendom? The fact that I cannot do these things troubles me, and makes me feel like one tossing and turning in their bed, unable to find a comfortable position or sleep for their weary body.
Other times, when I am more sane, I recognize that I don’t need to do all those things. It is sufficient for me to know what God commands, and to do it. It is sufficient for me to have a wife that loves me, and a beautiful (and I mean that objectively) daughter to train up, so that she will (by God’s own grace) glorify God throughout her life. It is enough for me to realize God’s goodness to me, and grab it with both hands as tightly as I can, and praise His name with all my strength, body and soul. To not whine and complain and wish for better things, but to realize that I actually find it hard to visualize anything better than what the Lord my God has already given to me. And what’s more, through those things He has already given me – primarily my family – I can change the world. I can have an influence, and not only can I have an influence, I will have an influence. I cannot escape the fact, were I to want to, that my children will be affected by how I teach them. They will live according to the way I live. They will think according to the way I think.
I will raise my children to be God fearing, faithful Christians. By God’s grace, they will not be of the modern species, which serves individuality and ignores covenant. They, along with other faithful Christian’s children, will cause waves that the world will be unable to ignore. They will call the Church back to repentance and, God willing, faithfulness. They will change the world.
To God be the glory forever and ever.
July 12, 2002 No Comments
Red Fusion, the new drink from Dr Pepper. It is described as having “an alluring red color” and use a “variety of fruit flavors”, but i’m hard pressed to taste any fruitiness in it. The color, while not quite being alluring, is red. But not a bright red, more like a brick red.
Beyond that, I couldn’t quite taste much of a distinction between this new fangled pop idea and Dr. K, Kroger’s imitation Dr Pepper drink. And it’s worth nothing that just the other day I was drinking a Dr. K, and thought, “This stuff really doesn’t taste very good. I’m going to have to get real Dr Pepper when I want it. I can’t settle for this imitation any more.”
I’m very disappointed with this new soda pop. Mountain Dew’s Code Red is a far superior beverage spin-off, though even it does not match the quality of Dr Pepper, the best soda pop around.
July 11, 2002 No Comments
Ever since our first mother, Eve, facilely discovered multiple reasons to do what God had expressly commanded her through Adam not to do, weï¿½ve proven to be, in our fallen estate, a darkness-loving lot that excels in creatively justifying any sin-embracing choice we desire to make. This ability wreaks havoc in ethics. No sooner do we learn the right thing than we begin paralogizing in the pursuit of what we think of as freedom.
But freedom from Godï¿½s Law as a rule of faith and life is no freedom at all. Some think the opposite of Law is Grace. Rather, the opposite of Law is chaos, meaninglessness and death. Thinking which leads to a justification for disobedience is, by definition, wrong thinking.
With the modern church having largely capitulated to some or another form of antinomianism, it should not surprise us that it seems ever to be engaged in lowering the flag before each new assault on the ethics of the Antithesis. Whether we are asked to adjust Godï¿½s standards for marriage and divorce, or Lordï¿½s Day worship, or the tithe, or homosexuality, or love of the brethren, we find an ever-vigilant phalanx of theologians whose favorite color is grey and whose favorite work is dismantling the Antithesis, directing us, like the serpent did Eve, to ignore what God says and to seek life in death.
In every dispensation God has made it clear that his people are a people of life, a people distinct from the world, a people with a different idea of wisdom, a people with a different way of living. Godï¿½s word to Israel and the church is (of course) one: Do not think as they think; do not do as they do ( Dt. 18:9; Eph. 4:17-20 ).
The Church today is all too ready to label something -anything- legalism. We hate God’s law, and even the redeemed do not want to submit to it in cheerful obedience.
July 10, 2002 No Comments
Here I am, safe and sound home in Virginia. Today is my first day back at work, and it seems to be going well. 10:37 and i’ve already handled a plethora of animals, not excluding piglets and fish. yum.
I also just finished a wonderfully hilarious and entertaining book by one P.G. Wodehouse, Leave It To Psmith (The p is silent, as in phthisis, psychic and ptarmigan). highly reccommended to just about anyone (there are some chaps out there that lack any sense of humor whatsoever, and they would no doubt be left clueless and griping about the book).
Other than that, my mind has been pondering some recent eccelsiastical events. Some men that I respect have been charged with heresy, and all in a rather immature and uncharitable way. Joe Morcraft and the RPCUS made the accusations after hearing some lectures given during a pastoral conference held in January at Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church (PCA). you can hear all the lectures at sermonaudio.com, beginning with this one. I have just downloaded them this morning, and will listen to them throughout the week. I am familiar with the teachings of these men, though, and will say that I more than likely will agree with most everything said. I encourage you, if you are at all interested in this turn of events, to listen to these lectures as well, and form your own opinion about what is said.
July 8, 2002 No Comments
We had a great time
We spent the first half of the day relaxing around the house (no swimming though…) and then headed up to Tucson.
There, we had lunch at Boston Market. It was my first experience there, and I must say it was DEEEElicious. yum. I had a barbecue grilled chicken sandwich with green bean casserole on the side, and it was scrumdidilyumptious. Megan had some other kind of chicken sandwich with mashed potatoes on the side. both were excellent. I would say that Boston Market is now easily in my top five favorite fast food places.
After that, we headed west to the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum which is a mixture of a zoo, a natural history museum and a botanical garden. The animals were the best part, of course. Our personal favorite was the otter. Very cute little guy swimming around, playing. It was 100 degrees today in Tucson, so we drank lots of water and stopped occasionally in the shade. Geneva’s cheeks got very rosy, so we kepy pouring water on her head, under her hat. She loved it.
Other than that, we did nothing. Talked and had lots of fun together. I am a blessed man. I have a beautiful, intelligent wife, and a baby that is simply irresistable.
cue Robert Palmer. fade out…….
July 3, 2002 No Comments
well, happy first of july.
We went up to Phoenix this weekend for a wedding, and it was beautiful. We had a great time. Our pastor performed the ceremony, and had an extra room at the condo they were staying, so they let us stay there saturday evening. Some of their friends from Moscow were in town, so they went out with them, while Megan, Geneva and I went swimming and ate pizza.
Sunday we went to Emmanuel Covenant Church, a church in our denomination, the Confederation of Reformed Evangelicals. It was a great time worshipping there, and fellowshipping with them afterwards. I had the pleasure to meet Randy Booth, pastor of Grace Covenant Church in Nacodoches, TX, and also author of Children of the Promise. It was great talking to him.
Today we swam and swam and relaxed and ate some tasty food.
It’s going great. Wish you were here.
July 1, 2002 No Comments